Trimming the Largest Yew Hedge

According to The Telegraph, they use a cherry picker nowadays to trim the thing. It produces almost a ton of clippings, which are sold to pharmaceutical companies who use yew extract as a key ingredient in a chemotherapy drug, Docetaxel.

I can't figure out how the guy is just standing on top of the hedge. Can it really support a man's weight? I guess so.

Honolulu Advertiser - July 24, 1990

     Posted By: Alex - Wed Jan 10, 2018
     Category: Horticulture and Gardens | 1990s

At that size, I imagine the branches are quite thick.
Posted by RobK on 01/10/18 at 11:43 AM
I grew up trimming a 150'+ long Chinese Elm hedge every two weeks from March to September every year. I would sit (rather uncomfortably) on the top and trim as far as I could reach in both directions, climb down, move the ladder, climb up, sit, trim, repeat ad infinitum ad nauseam. It was safer/easier/faster than trying to trim the top while standing on the ladder (wobbly ladder, soft ground, and intense acrophobia).

That hedge was only one plant wide (2-3' at the top), and Chinese Elm is a lot weaker than Yew.

A routinely trimmed hedge forms an outer shell, a thick mass of tiny branches bearing the leaves, because each time you cut the end of a branch, new branches form from the two or three leaf buds near the end. It's like an insane fractal.

You'll notice he's sunk in more than ankle deep. Must be like walking on a sponge.

Personally, you wouldn't get me that near the edge of something that tall even if it was a concrete wall, but some people are oblivious to the dangers.
Posted by Phideaux on 01/10/18 at 12:48 PM
Yew wood was in demand to make archery bows when those weapons were in common use. I believe is had to do with it's ability to repel atmospheric moisture and therefore not lose tension when strung.
Posted by KDP on 01/10/18 at 04:42 PM
At first I thought he maybe could be wearing something that functions like snowshoes, but I can't see much detail around his feet. Also, is that an electric cord, or a rope?

I don't know if this is a weird coincidence, or maybe the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, but today there was another interesting story about a hedge in my inbox. This one is noted for its length: 1,100 miles. Even weirder, it was also created by the British. Here's the link:
Posted by Fritz G on 01/11/18 at 06:58 AM
This must be how they trim it with a cherry picker. It's the best way the good ol' boys have found to do it, anyway.
Posted by Virtual on 01/11/18 at 10:48 AM
@FritzG -- He's holding an electric hedge trimmer. The round part in front of the handle he's holding is the motor. He's also holding it in the wrong hand -- the piece sticking out at a right angle ahead of the motor is the handle for guiding the trimmer.
Posted by Phideaux on 01/11/18 at 01:41 PM
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